At 11 o·clock on board at Hardinxveld with complete crew: Captain Michael, engineer Aart and sailor Herman. TOS has taken good care of us by bringing much store on board. We shall not die of starvation or thirst. After instructions from Arwin and Meindert we set off at 3:45 PM. We shall pass the following countries on this journey: Germany, Austria, Slovakia, Hungary, Serbia, Rumania, Bulgaria and Ukraine. In total we shall sail 3368 km until the final destination.
As our mast is too high for some bridges and the sea radar has been built into the mast, we must strike the mast at every bridge.
19/10/04 Weurt – Rheinberg
The Schiffsuntersuchungskommission (commission of ship inquiry) has issued the provisional ship·s certificate after inspection of the boat. This caused some problems, but these were the solved elegantly. Moreover, a bend indicator has been built into the desk. The mast is too high for some bridges and as the radar has been built into the mast, we have to strike the mast at every bridge.
21/10/04: Koblenz – Offenbach
The mast has been struck as it is too high for the bridges on the Main River. Now we cannot sail on without the sea radar in the dark and fog.
Another 2800 km until the final destination.
22/10/04 Offenbach – Lengfurt
Engineer Aart Langedoen has rebuilt the radar, so that we can use it in the dark and fog. Also the floodlight that is in the beam of the radar has been moved, so that we can continue to use it as well.
Another 2700 km until final destination.
24/10/04 Ottendorf — Dietfuhrt
Today we have passed the Rhine-Donau Channel at its highest point, 411 metres above sea level and the water parting, where a symbolic wall has been built. At the west side of the wall the water flows towards the Rhine, at the East to the Donau.
Another 2400 km to the final destination.
26/10/04 Regensburg – Passau
The beginning of our Donau journey with the Slovakian pilot Vladimir. It is a wonderful river with picturesque scenery. Yet we lie a little too deep. We have pumped 10 tons of drinking water overboard.
Our captain with the water police, in Passau
29/10/04 Vienna — Komaron
Clearing for Hungary – Serbia. Here we exchange pilots. Vladimir goes off board and pilot Daniel will come on board early in the morning. Another 1530 km until final destination.
30/10/04 Komaron — Dunafoldvar
The river Donau is twice as wide as the river and Rhine, difficult sailing water, many woods and islands in the river. Without pilots, (besides the fact that one requires a Donau patent), it cannot be sailed because of the language barrier, for communication takes place in Slovakian, Russian, Hungarian and Serbian. With just German and Dutch it is impossible to make appointments with other ships, locks and border crossing points. Also the water changes every month, for nothing has been regulated. For administration purposes the pilots are indispensable, too. They have all the required border documents and registration forms that one needs.
They also know the course of events, for registering, clearing in and through at the borders and reporting at the border crossing points. To us it seems strange that so much paperwork is needed for passing the borders. Our copier has made extra hours, for at the locks, too, registration forms must be handed in at regular intervals.
Another 1300 km until final destination
01/11/04 Mohacs — Bezdan
Cleared in, with six people the civil servants have been on board, gas oil, provisions and the cupboards and cabins have been checked. During the night we lay at two anchors. In Serbia the Donau has not been regulated, nature is unspoiled, except around the cities, where there is a little bank revetment.
02/11/04 Bezdan — Novi-sad
Now we have reached the notorious bridge of ships of Novi-sad. In order to pass it we must pay 150,– euro. The bridge of ships is a motorway (4 lanes) from Bucharest to Budapest. The payment for the passage has been arranged with a ships· agent in Novi-sad. In a very old taxi we drove to the city with Michael to get euros. It is only possible to get Rumanian money from the money machine and then exchange this for euros at the bank.
Novi-sad is one of the largest cities of Serbia, large end wide streets in the centre. There is also the large shipyard where also many Dutch vessels are being built. Today we received a fax message requesting us to photograph a sunken tug-pushed lighter at 355 km. Another 1190 km until the final destination.
03/11/04 Km 1253 — Veliko/Grasdiste
At 1092 km we are sailing through a cloud of dust of 800 metres wide from a cement factory, where the vision is less than 200 metres. We arrive at a two-stage lock, the “Iron Porch 1”. It has a drop of 2 x 15 m = total 30 metres. Fine locks with floating bollards. Here too, we have to put a registration form in a letterbox on the lock. On the left bank lies the Rumanian lock, on the right bank the Serbian lock, in between there is a dam of 30 metres high with an electric water station that is used by both countries. The locks of the “Iron Porch 2”, on the left and right banks, with a dam of 8 metres high also have an electric water station in the middle that belongs to Rumania. Another 1025 km until the final destination.
06/11/04 Turnu/Magurele — Km380
Every 15 km there is a village or small town, for the remainder only woods, we see little due to the thick fog.
The Donau River is very wide here, the water narrow, 200 to 300 metres. The Donau is becoming flatter with every now and then high marl rocks, clearly a delta area. Along the banks lie trees that have fallen down. In some parts of the unprotected banks trees have systematically been planted to combat the erosion. Here we see many woods where there are still wild bears and wolves. The depth is becoming less. We pass the city of Russe, a large city with industry. Here many ships lie waiting, modern tug-pushed lighters and trawlers turned into tug-pushed lighters. Many fishing boats on the Donau River. We pass a combined high two-level bridge, the top layer being a motorway, the bottom layer a railway.
Pilot Daniel with the sailing book he has drawn himself, which he is correcting during the journey.
08/11/04 km 158 Brailla- seamile 31/Tulcea
From the seaport Galati it is a well-buoyed and regulated sailing water. The Donau River winds on somewhere else. Galati has a large.
modern port with many hoisting cranes, with the large shipyard of “Damen”, where a ferry boat is being built for TESO. Along the left bank lies Ukraine and along the right bank lies Rumania. From Tulcea a little boat has brought the second pilot and ship·s agent on board. The ship·s agent has cleared the boat in and has gone back ashore with the little boat. The second pilot has taken us to the place of destination, +/- 8 km. We were received well at the final destination. In the evening we were visited by the crew that took over the boat and the barge skipper. It was a sociable evening in the wheelhouse of the boat.
09/11/04 Back home
At 05:30 AM a little boat took us to the city of Tulcea, in order to clear in at the customs and emigration authorities with the help of the ship·s agent. We received a stamp in our passports and at the airport another stamp for clearing out. In a taxi, the counter of which read 340.000, we drove to the airport of Bucharest. For the 200 km that we have to go this takes us about four hours. It is a three-lane road where cars pass each other four at a time now and then. An adventure in itself. Back home by plane….. The end of an adventure.
Travel report: Hardinxveld to Tulcea
Tug boat: Multrasalvor 2
Period: November 2004